White: ‘This is the fight business, not the friend business’
Everyone in the MMA world knows the story by now.
Last week at UFC 145 in Atlanta, we saw the culmination of the feud. But we also heard welterweight rising star Rory MacDonald say he would never fight his teammate, UFC 170-pound champion Georges St-Pierre. Sound familiar?
MacDonald acknowledged even before his co-main event win over Che Mills that he was climbing the ranks and getting closer to St-Pierre. But the two of them fighting? Forget about it, he said.
"I'm creeping up (on St-Pierre)," MacDonald said. "Georges has a lot of things I can learn from, but I'm still very young and I appreciate being his training partner. Me and Georges are teammates and friends, so it's not going to get to that point like Rashad and Jones."
MacDonald said he'd rather move up to middleweight than fight the longtime welterweight kingpin who also happens to be something of a mentor to him at Tristar Gym in Montreal.
"I understand people want to see that drama, but I'm not big into drama," MacDonald said. "We enjoy rolling together and hopefully he retires or moves up (before I would be next in line). I'll wait my turn. It's a rule in the gym (that we won't fight each other). (I'd move up) – I'm not scared of fighting bigger guys. I don't really care about my size – I'd fight small. I don't care."
But UFC president Dana White believes that's just plain nuts.
"Why are you in this? You're in this to become the world champion," White said after the UFC 145 post-fight press conference in Atlanta. "I guarantee you if Rory looks at (expletive) GSP's bank account, he'll want to beat the (expletive) out of him. That's what it's about. It's about winning. Everybody around the world knows GSP. They love this guy. He makes (expletive) loads of money. Rory wants that. It's not like we're setting up this fight and you guys have to hate each other after. It's the fight world. In boxing, Larry Holmes was the sparring partner for Muhammad Ali and he had to go out and beat Ali one day."
White said when it comes to not wanting to fight your friends and training partners, it more often than not ought to come down to dollars and sense.
"This is the fight business, not the friend business," White said. "You can hang out and everyone's cool. It's one of the things people love about this sport – the sportsmanship, the camaraderie and everything else. But when it comes down to if I'm Rory MacDonald and GSP's a multi-millionaire, he's accomplished all these things, tons of great sponsors, 'But he's my friend' – it just makes no sense."